Harvard announces endowment of head men’s basketball coaching position

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Bob Scalise, The John D. Nichols ’53 Family Director of Athletics, and Harvard University are pleased to announce the endowment of Harvard Athletics’ 19th coaching position: The Thomas G. Stemberg ’71 Family Endowed Coach for Harvard men’s basketball.

Made possible through the generosity of Thomas G. Stemberg ’71, MBA’73, a long-standing Friend of Harvard Basketball and supporter of Harvard Athletics, this endowment serves as a commitment to the continued success of the men’s basketball program.

“I am thrilled to announce that Tom Stemberg and his family have endowed our men’s basketball head coaching position,” Scalise stated. “Tom has been a friend of Harvard Athletics for more than 40 years and his continued support has helped to champion in an era of academic and athletic success for many of our programs. Under his leadership, the Friends of Harvard Basketball has been instrumental in the transformation of our men’s basketball program under head coach Tommy Amaker, and this gift will help us continue to pursue excellence in the years ahead.”

“Tom Stemberg has been with the team through thick and thin, a steadfast supporter of generations of student-athletes and their coaches, including the incomparable Tommy Amaker,” said Harvard President Drew Faust. “Tom’s love of the game—and of Harvard—has inspired countless people over the years. And we are so pleased that his name will be synonymous with athletic excellence for seasons and seasons to come.”

Stemberg’s affiliation with Harvard has spanned nearly 50 years. As an undergraduate earning his AB (1971) in physical science, Stemberg served in managerial roles at Harvard Student Agencies and the Harvard Independent, while also supporting the men’s basketball team as a loyal fan and member of the band. In 1973, he received his MBA from Harvard Business School as a George F. Baker Scholar. Stemberg currently serves as an honorary co-chair for the Friends of Harvard Basketball.

“Tom has been an incredible friend to Harvard Athletics for many years. This gift is a testament to his commitment to the continued success of our basketball program and the young men in it,” commented Amaker. “Tom’s leadership throughout the years has been vital to the program that we have built, and I could not be more thrilled and proud to be the Stemberg Family Head Coach for men’s basketball.”

Stemberg began his professional career working for Star Market where he became vice president of the company’s sales and merchandising division. He then became president of the Edwards-Finast Division and helped to establish the Edward Food Warehouse chain, during which time he began to conceptualize the idea of creating an office supply superstore.

In 1986, Stemberg co-founded the office supply chain store Staples, opening the first location in Brighton. Stemberg served as CEO of Staples for 16 years and as chairman for an additional three, with the company becoming a member of the Fortune 500 under his guidance in 1996.

Together with his wife Katherine Chapman, Stemberg has also co-founded Olly Shoes, a leading children’s shoe retailer. Stemberg serves on the boards of several companies including Carmax, Lululemon, and Petsmart and is currently the managing general partner of the Highland Consumer Fund at Highland Capital Partners.

Tom Stemberg and Katherine Chapman have nine children and three grandchildren. His sons Rylan Hamilton AB ’02, MBA ’09, and William Stemberg AB ’14 also attended Harvard.